Remove the Confederate monument at Florida Capitol, erect a statue of The Golden Girls!
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Confederate monuments have always been symbols of white supremacy. The heyday of monument building, between 1890 and 1920, was also a time of extreme racial violence, as Southern whites pushed back against what little progress had been made by African-Americans in the decades after the Civil War. As monuments went up, so did the bodies of black men, women and children during a long rash of lynching.
In the civil rights era, segregationists again sought to push back any attempt to challenge white male supremacy. Once again, they rallied under the banner of the Confederate battle flag. But this time, local and state officials from law enforcement and state agencies joined them in their effort.
Today, the battle for white male supremacy has expanded in scope. Not only is it nativist, anti-feminist and anti-Semitic, it is also homophobic and as always, it is racist. Confederate “heritage,” as a unifying theme for the white South, also obscures the way that white elites use the white working class to do their bidding by pitting them against those with whom they have more in common economically than those in power. The path for the rise of the Southern Democratic Party, known as the “White Man’s Party,” was paved with racial violence. White elites showed their thanks by erecting Confederate monuments.
Picture it: Hollywood, 1985. The first episode of The Golden Girls airs, introducing the world to Blanche Devereaux, Rose Nylund, Sophia Petrillo, and Dorothy Zbornak. The show attracted more than 25 million viewers, becoming the highest-rated program of the week and consistently ranked in the top 10 sitcoms during its run. Over the course of seven seasons, the show racked up 68 Emmy nominations, 11 wins, and is one of only 4 shows in TV history whose principal actors all won Emmys for their roles.
While the entertainment industry pressures actresses to go to great lengths to maintain or restore their youth, The Golden Girls embraced aging and all the humor, wisdom, and vulnerability that comes with it. Despite Hollywood’s obsession with youth, The Golden Girls is still beloved by audiences thirty years after its premiere. Beyond the fact that the show is extremely well-written and well acted (thanks to Bea Arthur, Estelle Getty, Rue McClanahan, and Betty White), The Golden Girls also stands out for being one of the last sitcoms where progressive values were part of the show’s DNA.
The Golden Girls boasted characters who were sharp in their humor and secure in their freedoms, what better way to celebrate and commemorate the freedom of Floridians?
"Oh, you lost the war, get over it!" -Blanche Devereaux
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